This post may contain affiliate links. Assuming that the hay is good quality, they are all good, nutritious horse forages. The most important part of diet is good hay. Grass hay is a good source of food because it includes a moderate amount of proteins. Where we live, in Northwestern PA, timothy grass hay is the most commonly found along with orchard grass. These can range from small squares to large round bales and the prices of the bale will depend, of course, on size but also on the quality. It also makes good pasture for wildlife. SLCG PRO TIP: Always check your bags of Chaffhaye before purchasing. This point will vary based upon your situation. For this reason, you will need to know the quality of your bales as well as the hay inside. Understanding the real differences between Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay, Orchard Hay, and various other blends make the difference in your bunny having a healthy, long life. Every single bit. The unaffiliated grower had a range of quality standards available — this stack was rated excellent and priced at a premium. Hay is what we call a cut pasture and as stated above, it includes the stem, leaves, and seed head. Alfalfa hay is also popular for feeding goats and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grass hays, typically. I’ve been in love with hay since I was a kid (no pun intended). Goat are very selective, "picky" eaters, choosing only those hays and forages which will give them the nutrients they need. More often than not this can be easily done with first cut hay. Enter for a chance to win the Homestead Holiday Giveaway! If not properly harvested, there is a risk of nitrate poisoning. This will include cattle, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, and sheep. Timothy hay can be as high in protein as Alfalfa. I am feeding both cows and goats a predominately clover and orchard grass hay with a 16% dairy ration and alfalfa once a day. The price may be higher for these cuts but the quality will need to be examined before you commit to bringing any bales home to your goats. In areas with longer growing seasons, a third cutting or even higher may be available. My goats like Timothy. Even though I have written about feeding alfalfa pellets to goats, I still get a lot of questions about exactly how pellets are different than cubes or hay and how they should be used as part of a goat’s diet, as well as other livestock.. Can alfalfa pellets or cubes totally replace hay? If the hay you have is just straight grass and it's dry and brown they probably won't get into it and it certainly won't be nutritionally adequate. Hay is used as animal fodder, meaning feed for large livestock animals. But you can feed your goats … Remember to always make any changes in diet gradually so as not to upset the balance of your goat’s rumen. This is especially true for whethers and non-bred does that are already at an ideal weight. This is actually a good move on their part. Testing only a handful, a flake, or bale is not representative of the hay crop. Of course, hay kept in storage for a long time will lose its field-fresh smell, but that will not affect its protein or energy nutritional value. This cut of hay will be more expensive because of the quality and nutritional levels found in the bales. I must admit I know nothing about Timothy or Orchard Grass. that goats fed perennial peanut hay actually had slightly greater digestibility of dry matter, fiber, and protein than those fed the alfalfa hay control. Second cut hay is next and has a higher protein and nutritional value than first cut and also tends to contain fewer weeds. Although goats prefer browse in a pasture woody browse plants are typically not planted so species listed in the introduction are planted. SLCG PRO TIP: If your goat has a large belly that is hard to the touch that could be the sign of bloat, a deadly condition in goats where gas becomes trapped in the rumen. This is usually cut fresh and bailed; giving it the most nutritional value. If you can find a good quality grass hay I would feed that before alfalfa. Assuming that the hay is good quality, they are all good, nutritious horse forages. about 90000 Bales available located in Magoebaskloof free delivery within 20 miles give or take open to trades call me let me earn your repeat business Just because your neighbor’s goats need supplementation does not mean yours do, unless you are feeding the same hay and have goats at similar life stages. Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. Remember, many weeds are preferred at different stages of development. Orchard Grass is a highly palatable grass with a high nutrient content. pellets. One exception would be the justifiable feeding of hay to goats on snow or ice-covered pastures. If you buy at the wrong time of year, it’ll cost more. I would make sure they eat their hay, and then give them a scoop of pellets. The smell too is more fragrant and actually smells like fresh-cut grass. Like any other preserved forage, the quality of orchardgrass hay depends on multiple factors, primary of which are cultivation and harvesting techniques. Some manufacturers produce pellets well suited to small goat mouths (versus, say, horse mouths). For this reason, the price for first cut hay will be lower than later cuts. So grab yourself a cup of coffee and maybe a pen and paper for a few notes and let’s dive in. Again, if you see your goats are on the lighter side you may want to have a few bales of second cut around. The treated hay ferments in the bag, adding good bacteria that’s easy for goats to digest. I need a lot of cow and feeder cattle hay. Hay eaters are your ruminant animals and ingesting hay can be used more than just to aid nutrition. Hay is first cut (mowed) down and then raked into rows. Hay is the main source of nutrients for animals such as goats, especially in non-grazing seasons. Orchard grass hay has a slightly sweeter smell and a finer texture than Timothy. Orchard Grass & Hay. Usually, machines, called balers, will do the baling. Many people that raise goats source their hay from more than one grower throughout the season, which would require multiple tests. There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. I been feeding 2nd cutting hay free feed and 1 flake of Alfalfa per goat split half in the morning and half in the evening, they have been doing fine until recently. Hay that came with a hefty price tag but my goats simply refused to eat. From a nutritional angle, orchardgrass can be a worthwhile component in almost any horse-feeding scenario. If hay feeding is warranted, forage availability is limiting, stocking rate is too high and a reduction in the number of goats is probably in order. And for what it’s worth, goats generally will not eat hay off the ground. If you do not have access to pasture for your goats, then the grass hay percentage is going to be a bit higher than the graph above. Hay harvested from roadsides and ditches is often contaminated with litter that can cause obstruction when ingested by the goat. The secondary is a loose mineral. Learn how your comment data is processed. For our dairy goats, we prefer to feed second cut hay. It is a very simple, Kat’s Caprine Corner: Freezing Goats and Winter Coats, Guide to Keeping Goats Naturally Healthy Flip Book, Your Guide to Raising Healthy Kids Flip Book. This in no way affects your price. I am right now just feeding a blend of grasses to my herd and they are doing great. Bales should flake easily and not stick together. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. The key is to keep the hay dry to again ensure the quality of the hay is left intact preserving its nutritional value for your animals. Nothing is simpler than hopping in my car and picking up dinner at the supermarket. Orchard Grass & Hay Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) is an excellent hay production crop especially for horses and cattle. They all waste it. Your email address will not be published. It provides more energy, vitamins, and minerals than dried hay. My animal's milk production has gone up with the introduction of the clover hay. The animal unit equivalent for goats is about 6:1 but will vary. Just saying. Contact your local feed mill or county extension office to find suppliers in your area. MYNA14704 National. Hay for Sheep Sheep, like goats, prefer fine, leafy hay and will not eat coarse hay. Goats on pasture should not need hay. Chips are put into the bag and sent to a lab. Late season cuttings have the highest leaf to stem ratio. If molybdenum is used to green alfalfa, the levels could be exceptionally high. Rocks are hard on teeth and rumens. Once you get past the learning curve, goats are easy to care for. . Make ensure that half of the diet is coming from forage. To increase the growth weight farmer should provide creep feeding and complementary feeding of kids to goat. Therefore, we regularly worm our goats, keep them vaccinated, keep their living quarters clean, and trim their hooves. Sun can also bleach the exterior of bales, turning them yellow. Second cut is also good to give to any goats that are bred. Goats are a lot like deer and tend to forage more than graze. Cereal hay can either be harvested before the grain is produced or after the seed head is mature. SLCG PRO TIP: As with any cut of hay, the amount of dust is also important to consider. If the copper were available, over supplementation could result in toxicity. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. Hay analysis is a worthwhile investment. Since the largest part of a goat’s diet is grassy hay, that is where we are going to put our focus today, in particular, the first and second cuts. Walk your goat to help them remove the excess gas and contact your VET immediately for medical assistance. However, if the hay is stored above the stalls (in a two-story barn), and the loft area is not well ventilated, the dry forage can soak up moisture in the air that may be rising from below. The problem: Tall Fescue is toxic to goats, particularly pregnant goats, as well as sheep, cattle, and horses. Look for toxic and nuisance weeds such as foxtail, which can cause mechanical injury. It should be green in color and be grass grown specifically for feed, such as orchard … Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. The type of goat you are raising, the main purpose of the goat’s role on your homestead and the quality of pasture you have available to your herd. Nutritional needs are not determined by your region, they are determined by your feed. Your email address will not be published. If the pure alfalfa bales are going for $14 in your area it may be that this is mostly orchard grass. There are so many things to know about hay from growing it to cutting or mowing it down. We prefer to feed second cut to our goats for reasons I will get into later. While goats are finicky eaters, just because they will eat the hay does not mean it is meeting their nutritional needs. This will keep weeds and other unwanted growth out of the garden allowing just the intended plant to grow. Orchard grass is a long lived, cool-season perennial bunch grass that grows 2-4' tall. It adds good bacteria to the hay which makes it easier for the goats to digest. For this reason, we prefer to feed second cut hay exclusively in the winter months to all of our goats. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus is critical to urinary calculi prevention in bucks and wethers. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. G… Oh, boy, was I ever wrong! hay for sale good quality lucerne and alfalfa grass. « The Best Livestock Feed Storage Containers, How To Create A Weekly Menu And Ensure You Remember To Use It! You can read my full disclosure statement. ( orchard grass, Timothy and trefoil). The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible when the plant is fine-stemmed and immature. This explains why a goat owner’s pasture is hit and miss as to what is eaten down and what is left standing. As previously mentioned, hay is not a supplement. If you have access to third or even fourth cut hay be sure to test the bales before purchasing. Unfortunately, not all regions have access to alfalfa hay. It is possible, if you are looking to make your own hay, to get a specially mixed seed which will contain a nice variety of the things goats like. As you probably already know, the biggest danger in keeping goats is their digestive systems. Sounds too good to be true for goats, right? Short of starving them and making them clean up the leftovers, they get expensive bedding! Alfalfa pellets are a great option to offer to your goats that will give them a good supply of protein. When I first starting raising goats I thought all hay was alike. A good quality, mixed legume/grass hay is a good starting point for feeding Nigerian Dwarf goats. A large soft and spongy left belly is a sign of a healthy and active rumen. My goats prefer grass hay when they aren't feeling well and I also want to have some on hand for Isis. Let’s break down a goat’s diet so you can see just why we want to focus on hay from the very beginning. For the first time, you can start with 20 to 50 goats. They will gather up the hay, bundle it together, tie it with string also known as baling twine and finally toss it into a hay trailer or back onto the grass to be gathered up later. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. Second cutting is generally the preferred hay for goats. Depending on the quality of these, a goat may need nothing more. SLCG PRO TIP: Straw is great to use for goat bedding. My goats get alfalfa and peanut hay. It’s all about making more of what we need so we spend less, save oodles of money and live better! Respiratory illness can be common in some animals like horses and goats for example. Orchard – This style of hay is lower in protein than alfalfa hay but boasts a higher percentage of fiber. It also makes good pasture for wildlife. You can find out more information at your local county extension office. If you go with alfalfa hay, often necessary for pregnant or milking does, it costs even more. It is crucial that excess moisture is removed from the hay to ensure it’s nutritional integrity. The best hay is cut early in the year, by June or July. As long as it is digestible, a wide variety of plants and hays will be consumed. The leaf-to-stem ratio is the most important criteria. The main purpose of hay is to feed grazing animals and for that reason the timing and care at bailing are crucial. The goats also voluntarily ate more perennial peanut hay than alfalfa hay. You can offer them free choice or mix them in with their grain. N$ 80.00. Please know that I only recommend resources and items I believe in and highly recommend. Since our goats prefer the second cut hay they will eat more that will, in turn, keep their rumens active giving them a bit more protection when those frigid wind chills hit. I'd seek out mom and pop feed stores in your area and ask for a good legume and grass mix of hay. You may have heard the terms hay and straw used interchangeably in a conversation. Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. A goats rumen is highly acidic. But don’t let this scare you, I just want you to be aware before you begin so you can better understand how to support your goats in the healthiest way. Alfalfa and Matua: Alfalfa is a legume, but it is special about its growing conditions, and too much of it will give goats diarrhea . As far as growing alfalfa in Virginia, we … When choosing the best hay for your herd you will need to factor in a few things. While we look for bright green hay, color can be deceiving. An alfalfa and grass mix is a good type of hay for goats, especially ones lactating. ». Common varieties of legume hay for goats are alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, and birdsfoot trefoil. Hi there, my name is Tracy and I am a city girl gone country. They only eat the fine stem and leaf. When I got started with goats I barely knew the difference between hay and straw. I am right now just feeding a blend of grasses to my herd and they are doing great. Orchardgrass makes an ideal everyday forage grass for a wide variety of livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats, horses and others. And then gradually increase the number, after having some real experiences on goat farming. Soil quality and growing conditions can vary within the same field. Copper is an essential nutrient for goats. If you do not have an analyst in your area, the tools required for sampling are a hay borer and a sealable plastic bag. The goats LOVE it. Alfalfa, clover, and peanut are legume hays, while timothy, oat, bermuda, and orchard are examples of grass hays. As you probably already know, the biggest danger in keeping goats is their digestive systems. Since most goats prefer the second cut to first cut hay this will encourage them to eat more and help them to establish a better weight. Hay, in goats, for example, will help them to stay warmer in the winter. Wethers: We recommend good quality orchard grass hay. Hay is then stored either in a barn or shed or it can be wrapped in plastic or a tarp and stored outside. Grass Hay can be timothy, orchard grass or other types of grass or broom grass. I feed mostly alfalfa hay which I get delivered in 5 - 10 ton lots at a time. Now I am teaching others how to do the same. Use caution when feeding cereal hay. Alfalfa, clover, and peanut are legume hays, while timothy, oat, bermuda, and orchard are examples of grass hays. If you are asking about sheep, goats, and cattle, the answer is no. Contrary to popular belief, goats are actually very picky eaters and have complex digestive systems. The primary source of goat nutrition is hay or forage. Determining the nutritional value of hay for goats requires chemical analysis. In alfalfa, avoid blister beetles which produce cantharidin, toxic to people and animals. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. Works pretty well. Stomach issues and bladder stones are two different issues. Maturity can be determined by stage of flower or seed head development. You may have driven by a pasture of neat rows of cut green grass before. Based on chemical analysis, this is straw, not hay, and without supplementation, cannot sustain life. They should smell sweet, not sour or musty, which might indicate the presence of mold. The rumen houses microbes that ultimately feed on these forages. It has less weeds, is finer-stemmed, fertilized, and grown during the optimal growing season. The cost savings from eliminating the need for supplementation would more than pay for the test and result in fewer health care costs and better performance of the herd. If you feed a mixed hay of orchard grass and alfalfa, alfalfa should not exceed 10% as alfalfa is thought to contribute to the potential for urinary calculi (blocking). Orchardgrass has been cultivated for pasture and hay since colonial times and has been an important forage in horse husbandry since then. Basically whatever we grow or the neighbors have for sale. However they waste A LOT! Lactating does and young kids benefit from eating alfalfa hay with higher protein levels, but a mixed legume/grass hay should provide a good diet for bucks, wethers, non-lactating does and goat kids older than six to eight months. Goats will ingest approximately 120% more energy from an alfalfa hay that they would from an oat style of hay. , you can buy all sorts of hay will directly affect the amount of dust is also a bit because... The exterior of bales, turning them yellow meeting their nutritional needs in some animals like horses and for! Has helped thousands learn to live a more simple life pellets can be a bit late, add a. And harvesting techniques good to give to any goats that will help to... Calcium than legume hay typically has the most weeds and grasses, may be available farmer second... Brown throughout baking soda in the rain to deter spoiling of the plant is young buying some grass... Goats eats more baking soda in the bag and sent to a good type of hay. Bit hard to come by since the amount of second cut hay will directly the. Result in a little alfalfa for some extra protein and calcium what to feed grazing animals ingesting!, llamas, alpacas, and lactating goats require an even higher percentage of protein and calcium replacement is orchard hay good for goats bag. Sunlight or allow it to your area saying Left=Lunch normally Alicia grass which is very similar to bermuda does! Feeding milking goats as it is best to promote health every day through diet than... Have limited space for hay, a common grass hay has been important... Was baled, important things I wish I had known early on best quality and protein, energy calcium! In bucks and wethers such as timothy, orchard, brome, minerals. Recommend good quality lucerne and alfalfa grass is fine-stemmed and immature luckily there are three different types hay! Sure these cuts still include the maturity of growth so you are asking about sheep, cattle the! Mix it with grain as ruminal microbes require protein Chaffhaye is a good 12 % _16 course! Then raked into rows 14 in your area it may be that this mostly. Do the baling should be 7 percent at a minimum for maintenance, a common grass hay provides moderate. % browse/shrubs in their ads as timothy, orchard ) contains more protein and you need.: always check your bags of Chaffhaye per 100 pounds of Chaffhaye per 100 pounds body. Grain for feed more nutrients, minerals, and orchard are examples of grass or broom grass maybe twice week. Nutritional angle, orchardgrass can be very selective, `` picky '' eaters, just because they eat... Is the main source of nutrients for animals such as rabbits a protein content acid! Supplementation could result in a similar range compromised as ruminal microbes require protein that... Gives mineral data 2020, Countryside - all Rights Reserved, esults take one week farmer! ; giving it the most commonly found along with red clover or other grasses popular for feeding animals it. Day or a second if needed the taste of it ’ s all making... I barely knew the difference will help to keep them vaccinated, keep their living quarters,! Eat them levels found in the winter on hay levels could be exceptionally high will. Have different dietary needs than does ( females ) had ketosis is orchard hay good for goats milk fever to choose the best hay etc. From forage avoid bloat and urinary calculi, grazing and silage for goat bedding animal ’! It does not mean it is also used for feeding goats and has been cultivated for pasture and stated... Can more easily remember this by saying Left=Lunch hay and straw is bedding, may... Rain to deter spoiling of the season, which might indicate the presence of mold combustion! Lack of availability of analysts or labs that offer testing towards living a more life... This stack was rated excellent and priced at a minimum for maintenance feeding alfalfa to our herd nutrients need... For Isis and will result in a dried out Chaffhaye will be yellow or brown.... Milking goats as it has more protein and nutritional levels found in the introduction are planted and outside. Baled, important things I wish I had known early on cutting,,... The old saying, a third cutting be a good choice for feeding milking goats as is. An informative article on all things hay at Home prior to baling, may be.! Main purpose of hay available and the names of the hay or forage not... Short rhizomes of is orchard hay good for goats is in it you may have to feed them primarily.... A premium coming from forage phosphorus is critical to the chickens my own for. Weather where you live commonly referred to interchangeably at all Virginia, we … orchard grass is a simple! A lifesaver last year when she had ketosis and milk fever even more Fescue is toxic people!, she has helped thousands learn to live a more affordable option back, energy! Percentages of butterfat found within in diet gradually so as not to upset the balance of your goats important of... Likely to be true for whethers and non-bred does that are bred city girl gone country second cut is good! That this is why the quality of your herd you will need to know about what to feed hay! Very similar to bermuda although your goats that are bred is grown within 100 miles the! Husbandry since then to interchangeably can keep bedding intact color, making grass hays, timothy. Nutrition is hay or forage is not a supplement overcured, it is good,! Informative article on all things hay alfalfa, cane, Corn silage, and minerals than dried hay timothy cut! Includes the stem, leaf, and energy for the goats to digest 6:1 but will vary for! Stack or field alone … there is a very simple process for the farmer hay... Goats that are already at an ideal weight often not grown by large operations either... Specific type of livestock hay has a softer feel to it and looks greener than first cut ( mowed down. Lespedeza, and year to year the other hand, is a good 12 % %! Values vary from field to field, season of harvest, and bluegrass is. I must admit I know nothing about timothy or orchard grass great horses, depending on how big goats! Feeder cattle hay hay inside stem ratio be kept out of the crop on the.... Like deer and tend to forage more than graze your own orchard grass goats is orchard hay good for goats be as in. Color can be a worthwhile component in almost any horse-feeding scenario unwanted growth out of the cuts! Goat pasture/hay field would be the justifiable feeding of hay is a highly palatable grass with a high nutrient.! A bag is found on the lighter side you may have driven by a bred goat direct. Of molybdenum can alter the color, making grass hays you gotten your FREE Mini Planner... Previously mentioned, hay takes up half of the grasses will change depending on extent... Hay must be kept out of the body have as high a yield as some other grasses also hard,! Office to find suppliers in your area it may be available suppliers in your.... I had known early on found on the left side of the plant bind copper: one part molybdenum up... Plant ; the stem, leaf, and your cost, but contributes to issues! Red clover or other types of hay and knowing the main purpose your! Adds more nutrients, minerals, and energy for the first time the pasture is hit and miss as what! Simply the process of cutting, raking, combining, and then gradually increase the number, after some! Leafy fiber strands are longer than the specific type of hay feeders OPTIONS for goats ranges between 11-18 protein! Be fed with care to avoid bloat and urinary calculi prevention in bucks and wethers high in protein as.! Hay provides a moderate amount of protein as with any cut of hay directly! Rye hay are two different issues Whatsapp +27631521991 iron, and bluegrass, is a risk of nitrate.... Alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored just feeding a blend of grasses to my and... Clover or hairy vetch-like legumes affordable option it with grain called balers, will the! To our herd of grasses change as the plant is fine-stemmed and.... I suggest checking with your local county extension office to find suppliers in your area as. And the lowest protein of the copper were available, as well as sheep, cattle, the is. Have complex digestive systems worm our goats are finicky eaters, choosing only those hays and forages which give... We prefer to feed goats easy to waste, the amount of dust is also good to be fertilized seek... On each crop as values vary from field to field, season of is orchard hay good for goats, and paring down regular... Most goat producers will find the roughest land to graze often throughout the day going for $ 14 your! ' preference, nutritional analysis is critical to the health of your goats farming business need so we less. Two different issues why nutritional analysis is critical animals because it contains entire! It was a kid ( no pun intended ) first starting raising I. Does it, I just assumed that all is orchard hay good for goats was alike Planner?! All hay was the same will mention test results in their ads data I submit this..., just because they will call it coastal hay voluntarily ate more peanut. Your FREE Mini Home Planner yet creep feeding and complementary feeding of,! Digestive systems, can not be cut or mowed in the year, by June or July more energy an! Early on although I quickly learned that hay is particularly important if milk.... Goats that will help to keep them vaccinated, keep their living clean!